4 Questions You Shouldn’t Feel Ashamed To Ask On A Date, According To Experts

First dates can be really awkward — that's not just me, right? You want to make a good impression, for the conversation to flow naturally, and maybe even make a connection. But that can be a lot of pressure to put on one cup of coffee. According to experts, you should ask questions on a first date that will help make it go smoothly, but they warn against turning it into a job interview. If you're not sure what that means, fret not. There are questions you shouldn’t feel ashamed to ask on a date that experts say make for great conversation starters, but can also tell you a lot about someone.

The key to these questions is that they invite people to open up so that you can get to know them better without them feeling like you're prying or being invasive. No one wants to feel like they're being interrogated on a first date — or any date, for that matter, really. To help put together a list of solid and illuminating first date questions, I reached out to dating experts for their advice. Here's what questions they say are not off limits on a first date, and can actually help you two get to know each other better.

1“Are you close to your family?”

Giphy

While online dating expert Julie Spira tells Elite Daily it’s important to keep the conversation light on a first date, she's a big believer in asking your date about their family because, as she says, “You can learn a lot about someone when you learn about their relationship to their parents and siblings.” She says asking questions like, “What was it like growing up in your family” or “Are you close with your siblings?” is a great, non-obtrusive way to “help you learn about their family values, without asking pointed questions about any individual.”

2“What do you do for work?”

Giphy

This is a relatively common first date question, but for matchmaking and dating expert Stef Safran, it’s not so much what the answer to the question is, but rather, how they answer it. “What you should be looking for is to see if they sound happy and settled with their job or if they sound in transition or are miserable,” she says. Simply asking about their work can give you key insight into their general demeanor and plans for the future — things that are really going to matter in the future if this date goes somewhere.

3“Who is your role model?”

Giphy

If you want to know who someone is, find out who they look up to, which is why Spira says this makes for a great first date question. It gives you insight into their values and their aspirations, without them realizing how much they're revealing. “Finding out about who someone admires tells [you] a lot about a person,” she explains, adding that “it helps the conversation flow.”

4"Do you like casual dating, or prefer to be in a long-term relationship?”

Giphy

Of all the questions, this one may be the most awkward, but Spira says you shouldn’t be ashamed to find out if you generally want the same things from the start. “While this question can make many people feel uncomfortable,” says Spira, it’s important to ask because “it’s a great barometer to see what type of relationship your date is looking for. There’s really no wrong answer to this question, and someone just getting out of a relationship might be looking to play the field. If you’re not game, it’s best to know early on if you’re on the same page.”

What to avoid asking about on a first date

Giphy

While knowing what makes for good first date questions is a start, it’s only half the battle. You also need to know what topics to avoid, which is why dating coach Erika Ettin advises to relax and take it easy on that first date. “A first date is for getting to know someone and seeing if you have rapport. It's not for seeing if this person is your soulmate,” she says, adding, “A positive outcome of the first date is to want to have one more conversation with this person.” So, she says you should steer clear of subjects that will bring the mood down on a first date. Specifically, she advises against “questions about past relationships, children, illnesses, a five-year plan, etc.” Ettin says you’re better off focusing your questions on a person's lifestyle and looking for common ground.

Ultimately, that's the one thing all the experts agree on: keeping the tone light and avoiding an interrogation. Ideally, the questions should be flowing back and forth naturally, like a normal conversation. But for when those moments of silence happen, these expert-approved questions will help keep the banter going.

Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!